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July 16, 2012 8:29 AM   Subscribe

What career background is necessary to be hired as a (non-entry-level) consultant with McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group?

Mr. brambory's dream job in the next two to five years would be to be a consultant with a big name consulting group. He's been invited to begin the interview process with McKinsey, but after meeting other potential interviewees, he's feeling like his experience might not be enough.

His current job is as a business analyst in a big company in the financial sector. He's led a few projects, including one that involved an overseas trip for a month plus, but most of this was initiated by him and not part of his main work or job title.

Eight years ago, he worked for a business/management consulting group, but it was definitely not the same calibre as McKinsey or BCG.

Mr. brambory isn't interested in a recent-grad type of position instead he was approached as a potential 'experienced hire'.

So, in order to get his dream job, does Mr. brambory need to first get a proper managerial job on his CV? What else can he do to increase his desirability? Any hints or tips on the interview process?

The invitation to interview is open and we're not desperate to move at the moment, so he'd rather take the time to increase the chances that he'd get hired rather than just applying now.

Any first person experiences would be especially appreciated!
posted by brambory to Work & Money (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
just want to say that if they are interviewing him it means that based on his resume he is qualified. they get enough resumes so that they wouldn't bother to interview someone that isn't qualified (at least in terms of what's on that resume)
posted by saraindc at 9:15 AM on July 16, 2012


First of all, Mr. Brambory needs to feel confident that while other candidates may have more experience than he has, he may have specialized training or expertise that makes him a viable candidate. He needs to get some swagger if he wants to roll with these big dogs. If they're interviewing him, he's got similar qualifications. Full Stop.

Check out GlassDoor for insight into salaries and the interview process.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:28 AM on July 16, 2012


If he was approached by McK he doesn't need to worry about his CV. They've already qualified him. Just ask smart questions that allows him to shape the interview, answer their questions intelligently and thoughtfully, and finally act like you aren't sure McK is the right fit for you. Make them spend time convincing you that they are. Go negative. As RB said "Swag" - but Swag in his own way. Consultant Swag is a specific type.

Also - and I'm telling you this from personal experience - If you interview at your "Dream Job" and during the interview he starts to think it might not actually be a dream don't overlook that. Instead start asking pointed questions that helps him answer that. He's interviewing them too.
posted by JPD at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Having had some experience with this process on both sides, I can tell you that after the initial screen, your resume/background is irrelevant. The rest of the process is 100% based on his performance in the interviews. Their site on how to do well in the interviews is actually really good: http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/apply/interview_tips. Watch/read everything there and PRACTICE the case interviewing sections as well as the experience interview piece.

Only caveat is that I was involved with the post-MBA entry-level side of things, the experienced hire process may be a bit different.
posted by oqrothsc at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I used to do recruiting and hiring in consulting, although not at McK/BCG. I've hired experienced consultants, and I've hired consultants away from those firms.)

First, let me echo what saraindc and Ruthless Bunny have said: If they're approached him, they're interested in his background, and his background doesn't have to be the same as every other candidate (and in fact, it's better if it's not). Everyone thinks these big four candidates are exactly the same: engineering/quant undergrad degree, MBA from a top 10 school, etc. That's actually wildly untrue. I heard a stat once that only about half of McKinsey employees have MBAs; the rest, while most have advanced degrees, have them in a range of other fields. Most of the major firms run mini business schools for experienced hires who come in without the basic business/quant skills.

A lot of experienced hires come in with no consulting experience, and many also come in with little business experience (think people who have worked in government, medicine, etc.). They want to see drive, ambition, initiative, and a history of success. His resume is there to get him in the door, but it's the interview performance that determines if he gets hired. He needs to be very good at telling his story (everything needs to be: the situations he was in, the actions he took, the results he achieved).

At McKinsey at least, the hiring process for experienced hires is very similar from that used with candidates coming out of school. Look at Glassdoor for salary and work information, but Vault is better for recruiting/interviewing advice for major consulting firms. McKinsey and BCG both have excellent HR sites, with sample materials. Several firms even have interactive cases that you work through online. He really should get practice in advance. Case interviews are much easier if you're familar and comfortable with the format, and know the unspoken rules.

As an aside, your question title is funny, but it's also true. Be prepared for what this is going to do to your relationship, and what it's going to do for your husbands social life (friends, volunteer situations he's in, etc.). I think consulting is a fantastic career, but the great benefits do come with some costs, and you need to have your eyes open to that before day one.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:01 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


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